Hennepin County Cycletrack Workshop

On Tuesday, April 16th, several Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition volunteers attended the Hennepin County cycletrack workshop. It was a fantastic event that included three nationally recognized experts on cycletracks. The goal of the workshop was to educate the group and discuss the benefits and design challenges of cycletracks with presentations, a panel, and small group discussions.  We heard informative and interesting presentations from Steve Durrant (Alta Planning + Design Seattle office), Eric Mongelli (Toole Design Group in Maryland), and Ellen Robinson (San Francisco MTA).

Workshop participants included:

  • Hennepin County staff

  • Hennepin County Bicycle Advisory Committee

  • City of Minneapolis Public Works

  • Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee

  • St Paul Public Works

  • MnDOT

  • Minneapolis Parks Foundation

  • Transit for Livable Communities

  • Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition

Some of the highlights of the day included:

  • Hearing from Commissioner Peter McLaughlin about how important bicycling has become on our streets in recent years. He discussed the idea of a corridor being defined by a bicycle facility, something that was a touched on multiple times throughout the workshop.

  • Learning about the work being done on cycletracks in other cities.  There were images and examples from all over North America. Steve Durrant filled us in on Seattle and how they are currently updating their Bicycle Master Plan to include a significant network of cycletracks.

  • Increased ridership has direct correlations with decreased bicycling crashes. As ridership goes up, crashes go down. Montreal and Portland studies were mentioned which have found this benefit with cycletracks and the increase in ridership they bring.

  • The idea of conflicts between cyclist, vehicles, and pedestrians was discussed in great detail.  Every intersection is unique, but many tactics can be used to slow speed and improve visibility of cyclists.

  • During winter, some cities temporarily close tracks or publish maps with maintained routes in the winter.  Some places will remove the bollards or barrier in the winter for plowing.

  • San Francisco has been doing before and after evaluations of new facilities. This way they can track the increased support and positive changes on streets with the newly implemented cycletracks.

Overall there was a lot of positive discussion on the implementation of cycletracks in Hennepin County.  While there will be some challenges in designing and implementing our region’s first defining cycletrack, everyone seemed hopeful and excited by the end of the workshop.  We hope to see ideas from the cycletracks workshop included in the Minnehaha and Washington Avenue design plans that will be out soon! Lastly, we want to give a huge thank you to everyone at Hennepin County who made this workshop happen!

Thank you to bike coalition volunteer Andrew K for co-authoring this blog post and taking the photos!

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